COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- A little boy is in critical condition on Tuesday, after being struck from behind by an ATV operated by two other children in his neighborhood.
A family friend tells WINK News that 5-year old Jake Gelormine is in a coma, battling critical wounds at Tampa General Hospital.
A 12-year old was driving the ATV, with a 6-year old also holding on. The 4-wheeler hit a rock, and the boys flew off. The ATV kept going, swiping a palm tree, and eventually hitting Jake. He and his father were fishing at their neighborhood creek, with their back to the ATV.
But ATV experts at Florida MotorSports in Naples say the problem isn't the product, but rather, the parenting.
"The problem is, parents let their kids that are too small, ride machines that are too big for them," Shawn Ray of Florida MotorSports said Tuesday.
ATV dealerships follow strict guidelines from manufacturers, regulating the age of drivers. Most medium-engine models require drivers to be 12 and up, while larger-engine models, which can reach speeds of 70 mph, mandate drivers be 16 and older.
"They regulate this strictly, and they go after it with a vengeance. As salespeople and as a dealership, it's our responsibility to make sure parents are purchasing the correct size for their little ones," Ray said.
But dealerships can't regulate the policy once the ATV makes it home. They now ask parents to use a little tough love to prevent another ATV accident from happening.
"Parents need to be aware that their children are taking things out that are just too doggone big for them," Ray said.
In Florida, 105 children under the age of 16 have died due to ATV accidents.